Purpose of Report
1. To seek the approval of the Cabinet to the revised procedure for the acquisition of new assets and the disposal of surplus assets, adopting and formalising the Corporate Asset Management Governance Framework (CAMGF), the granting of additional delegated powers to the Director of Corporate Resources and to the principles upon which the disposal/transfer of assets under the Quirk Review provisions would take place.
2. It is recommended that approval be given to:
(a) the revised procedure for the disposal of surplus assets contained in this report;
(b) adopting the County Council’s Corporate Asset Management Governance arrangements as the formal decision making framework;
(c) the incorporation into the Disposal procedure of recommendations regarding the “Quirk Review” provisions;
(d) the amendment of the existing delegated powers of the Director of Corporate Resources in relation to the acquisition and disposal of property to encompass:
(i) power to take all steps necessary to complete the purchase of land following approval of a Compulsory Purchase Order by the Cabinet;
(ii) power to purchase land for schemes within the approved fouryear capital programme and/or as otherwise agreed by the Director of Corporate Resources up to a maximum of £2 million per transaction;
(iii) power to earmark the proceeds of sale, where required for a replacement facility;
(iv) power to acquire replacement land where statutorily required (e.g. for a replacement recreation/sports facility) in order to achieve the best value disposal of an asset;
(v) power to declare land surplus to requirements and to dispose of such surplus land;
(vi) power to authorise the change of use of property;
(vii) power to engage local firms of chartered surveyors to sell surplus property on behalf of the County Council;
(viii) power to dispose of land at less than the best which might reasonably be expected, where the under value is considered to be de minimus and where the Director of Corporate Resources is satisfied that the disposal will meet the “well being” test in the General Disposal Consent, and that:
(1) there is a positive business case for the proposed disposal/transfer;
(2) the proposed use is proven through the business case to be more beneficial to the wider community and locality than alternative uses as demonstrated through the business case;
(3) the proposed means of transfer is the most effective way to realise the benefits being sought; and
(4) the County Council’s interest is protected by appropriate safeguards;
(In the context of the above, references to” land” includes buildings, as well as existing and new rights and interests in both land and buildings).
(e) the exercise of such delegated powers, as set out above, be subject in all cases to prior consultation with the Leader, the Deputy Leader and the Lead Member for Resources, or their nominees, in respect of any transactions which the Director considers may be of a sensitive nature.
Reasons for Recommendation
3. To enable the current delegated powers of the Director of Corporate Resources to be updated in line with the new Corporate Asset Management governance process and to reflect the guidance contained in the Quirk Review (May 2007) regarding the community management and ownership of public assets.
Timetable for Decisions (including scrutiny)
4. A decision is now required in order that the proposed disposal and acquisition procedures can dovetail with the Asset Management process.
Policy Framework and Previous Decisions
5. On 16 May 2006 the Cabinet resolved to amend the delegated powers of the Director of Corporate Resources in relation to the purchase and disposal of property as follows:
“Purchase and Disposal of Property:
(i) Power to purchase property by compulsory purchase powers following approval of a Compulsory Purchase Order with the appropriate body. Power to purchase property within the approved three-year capital programme. Power to declare land as surplus following consultation with any chief officer concerned where this power has not been delegated to another chief officer. Power to dispose of property that has been declared surplus. Power to authorise the change of user of property. In each case the exercise of such powers to be subject to consultation with the Leader and Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Resources or their nominees in respect of any transaction which he considers may be of a sensitive nature.
(ii) Power to use local firms of Chartered Surveyors to sell surplus property on behalf of the County Council.”
6. On 3 October 2006, the Cabinet resolved to adopt a simplified procedure for the disposal of surplus land and property that also:
- recognised the protection given to land and buildings in recreational use and provided for an internal recreational assessment to be carried out by Community Services in conjunction with Districts and Parishes on a non site specific basis;
- recognised the need to consult the local Member at an early stage;
- provided for a corporate view to be taken at Corporate Property Steering Group.
The Cabinet also agreed that, where there was a recognised community need, the relevant authority was to be offered the property on the strict conditions that the sale would be at market value with stipulations on market value and to a timetable set by the County Council, to provide better control over capital receipts and to assist capital planning.
7. The revised disposal procedure and the recommended enhanced delegated powers will enable surplus assets to be more readily identified, corporately agreed and disposed of.
8. Decisions about acquisitions will be arrived at strategically and within the Council’s corporate and financial context. They will be proven by a business case.
9. Proceeds of sale could be earmarked as appropriate, towards the acquisition of a replacement facility or to meet statutory requirements.
10. The County Council will be better placed to meet Corporate Area Assessment requirements regarding the transfer of assets to community ownership, at the same time as discharging its obligations in a responsible manner.
11. Assets recommended for transfer to community ownership, either by way of a disposal or a transfer, are likely to be at less than best value.
12. Under the Local Government Act 1972, local authorities are required to obtain the best consideration possible when disposing of land. However an authority may sell land at a consideration which is less than the best which can reasonably be obtained, if it considers the disposal “will help it to secure the promotion or improvement of the economic, social or environmental well-being of its area” provided the consideration foregone does not exceed £2m. Authorities are required so to have regard to their community strategy in such instances.
Circulation under Local Issues Alert procedure
Officer to Contact
tel: 0116 305 6991
tel: 0116 305 6991
tel: 0116 305 6800
tel: 0116 305 6800
Go to PART B
Page Last Updated: 3 November 2010